Dark Days of the Surge
USA TODAY BESTSELLING author and AMAZON ALL-STAR AWARD winner of The Last War series, The Age of Embers series and the Swann series presents the Dark Days of the After series. With hundreds of reviews (series wide) at a 4.8 star average, this high octane, tour de force series is post-apocalyptic fiction at its finest!
THIS IS THE NEW AMERICA. The lights are out, the grid is fried and war between two monstrous armies is breaking out all along the coastal states. Logan, Skylar and Harper thought they were prepared. They thought time was on their side. They even thought they were tough enough to survive, a notion they’re about to put to the test…
THE DARK DAYS SERIES puts ordinary citizens on the front lines of a domestic conflict that was never supposed to happen, one that will either unify the country or break her for good. This intense new tale of strength, survival and patriotism marks the start of a brand new series critics are calling “jaw-dropping,” “prolific,” and “a post-apocalyptic tour de force.”
OTHER BOOKS IN THIS SERIES:
- Dark Days of the After
- Dark Days of the Surge
- Dark Days of the Apostasy
- Dark Days of the Enclave
- Dark Days of the Purge
Release date: January 16, 2020
Publisher: River City Publishing
Print pages: 268
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Dark Days of the Surge
Night was hell. Waking up was much worse. Even before he opened his eyes, there was a pain in his heart he did not imagine possible. With a hitch in his throat, Logan turned and looked at Kim.
She’s just asleep, he thought.
“Liar,” he heard his mouth say. He held back a sob, felt the well of anger churning low, working its way up from his gut into his heart.
He got out of bed, looked at her again.
“She’s gone, idiot,” he told himself. Glancing around in Skylar’s old room, he hated what he saw. Not only was she gone (dead most likely), Kim was now gone, too.
One room, two deaths...
He reached down, touched her skin. She was cold to the touch. A sob shook him and he couldn’t look at her. Standing there, shaking, caught in that dark chasm between sadness and rage, he was frozen still.
That’s when he realized how cold he was. He’d been freezing all night. Shivering. That was what happened when you didn’t have heat. The building seemed to not only grab ahold of the cold, it had trapped it inside the walls as well.
His grief finally gave way to anger and he found himself feeling erratic. Stomping out into the living room, he went to his room for more clothes. When he got there he saw his bed, the blankets pulled back, a huge brown blood stain where Kim had bled out.
Averting his gaze, his mouth making animal noises that seemed to start from the back of his throat and work forward, he looked around, found the nearest lamp and launched it across the room. It shattered against the wall unceremoniously. The guttural noises he was making became the sounds of steep and howling rage, a deeply tunneling pain.
He picked up the end table, ran with it toward the window and hurled it through the glass. It sailed down five floors to its death in the alley below.
There were bodies down there. The stack of men he threw out last night. Visions of beating one of them to death overtook him, stilled him.
Who had he become? What had this oppression made him? It all went back to the weak politicians, the government sellouts, the quiet Chicom intrusion, the dead President. Had the country not had turncoats in office, would this situation be different? Would the nation be different? Would he be different?
Back when he was just a boy, when his head was geared toward video games and writing code, he knew the nation had issues. At nearly two-hundred and fifty years old, the country weathered her fair share of bumps and bruises, but she had managed to stand strong. He was naïve back then, incautiously optimistic. He had figured his freedom would continue to be free and, living out the American dream, he’d one day go on to work for SocioSphere as a programmer. Eventually, Logan got that job. But after the founder, Atticus van Duyn, disappeared, everything went to hell in a hurry.
He shook this train of thought loose, unwilling to revisit the past. Taking in his surroundings, some of the fog in his head lifting, he saw an apartment destroyed. In the back room, Kim was dead. Skylar, his dream girl, was gone. Even worse, he’d become a killer, part of the Resistance, a man without a job, a way back to Oregon, or the means to survive.
They say if you ever got caught in the city after an EMP, you can pretty much kiss your chances of survival goodbye.
He wasn’t going to make it. They’d detonated the EMP early, catching everyone unaware, even those “in the know.”
He heard voices down in the street below, the sounds of a scuffle taking place. He leaned out the broken window, saw a threesome of Chicoms harassing a group of people below.
He grabbed his coat, his stolen pistol and his Karambit knife, then he took a deep breath and fought for some sort of reason to stay. He could think of no such reason. He already knew what he was going to do, what he had to do.
Taking one last look around, he set his jaw and surrendered to his fate. He had to end this. Logan’s eyes wandered back into Skylar’s bedroom, his gaze landing on all he could see of Kim: her legs. The dark, lonely feeling grabbed him again. This had broken him. He was broken. Narrowing his eyes, his grip on the pistol he was holding tightened. A chilly breeze coasted in through the broken window, flowing over him, driving ice into his veins, burying the bitter cold deep in his bones.
Turning, he ripped open the door, stalked down the hallway, then tromped down the stairs, passing people, answering no questions, making no issue about brandishing a weapon when citizens were not allowed to own guns.
At the ground floor, he shoved his way out of the stairwell, passed up a swiftly departing crowd of people, then burst outside and onto the sidewalk where the Chicoms had lined up nearly a dozen dissidents and were shooting their way through them.
Walking with his gun outstretched for aim and readiness, he got as close as he could knowing he couldn’t hit things with precision from so far away. When the first Chicom saw him, Logan began firing.
Seven rounds later, he was staring at three downed Chicoms. The wailing of innocents started, but it was all white noise in his head.
Standing over the injured men, not even thinking, just reacting the way a person pushed to their limits in the wake of such horrific bloodshed would react, he put three more rounds into the squirming bodies. They were all head shots. Now people were running from him.
He was the hero, wasn’t he?
I’m the hero.
Soon he’d be the martyr.
He collected the pistols from the downed Chicoms, ejecting their mags then tossing the empty guns. His eyes went to where the Chicoms had been shooting. He found a mother, a young boy and three men lying dead on the street. Two more were shot and would be dead in minutes. Logan looked at the young boy, how his eyes were turned up, how his jaw was slack and his face was pale. He had three rounds in his chest.
The streets were officially packed, save for the circle of space around him. Up the street, he heard more gunshots, more screaming. Most everyone was moving away from the barking noises.
He headed toward them.
He pushed through the crowds, ignoring the eyes upon him and the condemnation he was sure to see and feel. But then he saw the truth of what he was missing. People were looking at him both in fear and in awe. This fueled him. Kept the surge of adrenaline pumping.
Half a block later, he saw Chicoms pushing people around just outside their Jeep. The door was open and it was still running. There were too many innocents for Logan to open fire, especially with his poor aim. Instead, he stuffed his pistol in his coat pocket, pulled out his curved Karambit knife and prepared himself.
Moving through the crowds, eyes on the Chicoms, he closed the distance. When he was right there, he heard the yelling, the demands being shouted, the screeching of orders in a language he didn’t understand and had come to hate. Everything flashed red before him as he pulled up on that hatred and did what he needed to do. He cut and sliced his way through the two men, blood geysering out everywhere.
It should have been satisfying, but in truth, he felt nothing.
The pervading feeling that he wasn’t really killing these men overcame him. It was almost as if half his body had split, and that the half he occupied was detached from the other half doing the killing. Instinctively he knew what was happening. He saw the gruesome affects both with his own eyes, and with the eyes of separation. He was moving fast, the crowds parting, the foreign soldiers trying to raise their weapons to fire on him before he trenched open their wrists, rendering their hands and fingers useless. He saw it all, but he could not feel it. It was like he was already gone from this world, already dead. Was he? Am I?
His Krav instructor, Yoav, told him that if he ever felt like he’d reached the end of his life, his only obligation was to drag as many enemies to hell with him that he could take. And he was going to hell. For this, for the slaughter his body was committing, there was no way God would allow him entrance to the Kingdom.
In that moment, he knew this and he set this truth aside. If he could take out evil to save good, how could God spite him? How could He look unfavorably on Logan when what he did was meant to save lives, not take them?
All this introspection and still his body worked the dead Chicoms over. He slammed back into his body, saw through one set of eyes again, felt the blood dripping off him, his hands shaking with adrenaline, his heart keeping a relentless pace.
Looking around, the eyes of strangers upon him, he felt their judgment once more, even though he didn’t see it. Was this really his own judgment masquerading as theirs? Or was this God looking down on him in condemnation?
He felt his entire body break into gooseflesh. There was a message in him, almost like it was dropped into his brain the way an email drops into an inbox. Should he communicate this message to the masses, or keep it for himself.
The silence around him was overwhelming, deafening almost. All he heard was the ragged breath leaving his mouth and nose. The message, however, needed to get out of him, as if his tongue were holding it hostage, and only after speaking it could he be truly free.
“This is the new now!” he announced. “This is our chance to rout them out and take our country back!”
To this poignant, yet simple speech, no one said a thing. Standing there, garnering no cheer or praise, he felt awkward to say the least. He told himself it didn’t matter. His mind was overwhelmed with the memory of Kim—how she moved when she fought, how she looked in the shower, in bed satiated, left dead in a pond of her own blood. He wasn’t doing this for these people, or even for himself. Right then, he was exacting revenge for all of those he liked and loved who were now gone.
Move! he told himself.
Kim had his mind, Skylar had his concern, and Harper had somehow grabbed ahold of his heart.
In his mind, these were all the people he liked, loved, adored most, and they were all gone, dead, impossible to get to.
His motorcycle was crushed, his body aching, and nothing in town was working.
Where was he going to go? Was he just going to go on a killing spree until he was pumped full of Chicom lead and lying dead in the street, his life worth nothing, his legacy no more significant than a dead rat’s legacy? Or could he walk to Oregon?
Perhaps Kim was right. Preparing for war was never about escape. Knowing and understanding the fight was about digging your heels in and waging an impossible war with a formidable, if not unassailable, Chicom army.
The mindset was to kill them all.
The reality, however, was far more complicated.
Kim was smart, and Skylar determined. In the back of his mind, he knew they understood the risks. There was one hundred percent chance they’d die, and probably early on. There was no way to win this war. But to him—and he’d only recently decided this—winning was dying on your feet, not on your knees before a scourge of tyrants.
If he was going to die, he’d die dragging as many of them down to hell with him as he could.
Rather than rally together a pack of scared but dedicated Americans and call them troops, he stood on his tippy-toes and searched the streets in both directions. Half his brain was telling him to walk to Oregon, but the other half was telling him that only this moment mattered and to make it count.
When he started down the street, the crowd parted for him like the Red Sea, not out of reverence, but because he was an armed man on a mission. An unsung hero walking into a gunfight with a death wish and a savior’s mentality. Not that they would see it that way.
To the masses, he imagined he was just some maniac who lost his marbles and threw the mother of all bitch fits. The truth was Logan Cahill was no hero. He was just a guy with some fighting skills and some weapons who had officially snapped. And if he was being honest with himself, he was really only a guy who would probably get a lot of people killed by the end of the day.
Nevertheless, he moved through the crowds of cold, hungry, hysterical people, his head on a swivel, his eyes searching for more Chicoms to take his aggressions out on.
It only took him a few minutes to find what he was looking for.
Two Chicom soldiers were demanding that a group of people either go back to their homes, or get against the wall and be shot. One of the men they were pushing around pushed back. He was shot in the head for his defiance.
By then Logan had slipped quickly and stealthily through the crowds. When there was no more cover, he walked up on the soldiers fast and pumped two rounds into them.
Both soldiers dropped dead.
He reached down, stripped them of their weapons. A teenaged boy was looking at him, his face dirty, his expression neutral, as if all the horrors he’d seen suddenly rendered him immune to such grievous displays of violence. He had a backpack on, but it looked empty.
“What’s in there?” Logan asked.
The boy looked at him, but did not respond. Logan snapped his fingers in the boy’s face and barked the question again.
His eyes cleared and he suddenly seemed alert.
“Extra socks, my re-education manual?” he said, although he phrased it like a question, which seemed strange.
“Take out your stuff, give me the backpack,” Logan demanded, talking with his gun.
He wasn’t pointing the weapon at the kid, but it was a weapon nevertheless, and as conditioned as people had become to fear guns—even when they were not used as a threat—he was quick to comply.
Logan took the backpack from the kid, loosened the straps so it would fit him, then started dumping guns and ammo inside.
“You can’t take all of them,” some guy said in the crowd that had gathered around him. This brave soul was talking about the guns.
“You have the stones to do what I’m doing?” Logan challenged.
A bigger man appeared, his face rugged, like it had been used to clean the streets for a half a block and healed that way. Logan didn’t like his face. He liked the look in his eyes a whole lot less. Crossing his arms, he was showing Logan he wasn’t the only alpha on the block.
“I think so,” the first said.
“If you say you think so,” Logan growled, “then you don’t. Because guys who are ready for this know they’re ready.”
“I can do what you’re doing,” someone else said, stepping forward. This guy was lanky, his arms bone thin, his eyes full of horrors.
“Really?” he said, sarcastic. “I didn’t know pupils could get that big.”
“Give me those guns,” he demanded. The guy didn’t look right. His expression was wrong, his energy all bad. Logan scanned his face for further signs of drug use, and the rest of his person for proof of gang affiliations.
“Step back,” Logan said, now aware of the gun in his hand and ready to use it, if only as a threat. “Get your own weapons.”
“I want yours,” he said, unblinking. “Which were really just theirs, thief.”
“No,” Logan said, stepping back as this guy stepped forward.
The man smiled. He saw Logan’s mistake—you never give up ground. You angle off, but you don’t go directly backwards.
Don’t think about it, Logan told himself, the internal statement harsh, skewering. Just do what you have to do.
He took a big step forward, jammed the barrel of his gun in this guy’s face, his finger on the trigger because he meant business. The thug frowned, swatted for the weapon.
Logan knew this was coming.
He jerked the gun back, forcing the tweaker to overextend himself, at which time—and with his free hand—Logan swiped upwards with the Karambit blade. The blade hooked into the back of the man’s armpit, the razor sharp point doing all kinds of damage.
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